Why Decant?

In some circles, decanting wine is a controversial subject. Should you decant wine? Does it enhance the wine? What do experts recommend? Let’s begin with two examples of when you should decant a wine.

A great opportunity to decant is with young wines, especially big, bold reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Barolo or Zinfandel. These wines benefit from decanting because it helps to soften those tannins that are so assertive in their youth. It also gives younger wines, which are sometimes a little tight, some time to open up and more fully express their aromas and flavors. For young red wines, a decanter such as the Spiegelau Vino Grande or The Ultimate Decanter by Nachtmann with a wide base and lots of surface area works best.

Here’s another instance when you should decant. You’re about the pull the cork on a really nice bottle of wine and, oops, the cork breaks and several pieces fall into the bottle. You could try and fish the pieces out, but there’s so many smaller pieces that it would take too long. And you’re really wanting to have some of that wine right now. With a funnel such as The Ultimate Pewter Funnel, you can simply pour the wine through the screen of the funnel into a decanter and easily remove the cork pieces. Problem solved.

The Wine Finer

But what about older wines? Wines such as older red Bordeaux or Châteauneuf-du-Pape really don’t need to soften or open up. As a matter of fact, extended time in a decanter will only reduce the very characteristics of older wines that you want to retain. However, some older wines need to be decanted to remove the sediment and this is best done immediately before serving to retain its mature and sometimes delicate bouquet. Allow your wine to rest for at least an hour before you gently remove the cork and slowly pour it into a decanter while leaving the sediment in the bottle. Connoisseurs like to use a bright light source near the bottle to see when they’ve reached the sediment, but an easier way is to simply pour the wine through the Wine Finer to capture the sediment in the bottle.

What about white wines? Good question. Few white wines really benefit from decanting, but many people like to decant a white wine because it makes for better presentation. In this case, a decanter such as the Rojaus Decanter or the Riedel Cornetto Sommelier Decanter makes for an impressive way to serve your white wines.

So whether its to filter out sediment or a broken cork, to soften and open up a young wine, or simply to serve your wine with elegance, there’s always a good reason to decant and IWA has a great selection of decanters and funnels to help you decant in style.

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    [...] you may be asking yourself, if air is so bad for wine, why and when should we decant?  Historically, before winemakers mastered the art of clarification, decanting was necessary for [...]

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